7 peaty malt scotch whiskey pairing food that you're missing

Posted by Harold Camaya on

A true lover of scotch whiskey can describe how blissful every drop of it is to humanity. We all know how whiskey is rich in antioxidants, can help with weight gain, dementia, enhance digestion, improve memory and much more. But there is something about whiskey that most of us probably don’t know about. While most people share their love for wine and food, whiskey can be paired wonderfully with some delicious food. In fact, it could turn out amazing that you might ditch your next bottle of wine for a glass of whiskey.  A healthy food palate with a neat glass of whiskey could be the perfect end to a beautiful day you might be looking for. Here are seven peaty malt scotch whiskey and food pairing which could be a start for this experience for you. 

  1. Lamb meatballs with Laphroaig: Filled with a blend of aromatic spices and tender meat, a typical lamb meatball or kofta would be a great pairing with Laphroaig. Lamb in general pairs amazing with a soft whiskey that isn’t too aggressive which will smoothly match with a light meat dish. The spices will enhance the depth of the whiskey and this way you could enjoy a great dinner. Lamb pattie could be an alternative to lamb meatballs which you can enjoy as a snack with a glass of Laphroaig.
  1. Barbeque pork with Ardbeg: Pork is tougher meat compared to lamb and Ardbeg will make a great pairing in this case. Barbeque pork with Ardbeg will improvise on the smoked effect of the meat and give a rich flavor. A robust peaty whiskey such as this can also be paired with garlic flavored lamb. Sushi is yet another dish you can pair with Ardbeg.
  1. Oban with Dark chocolates: With 85% cocoa content dark chocolates and a single malt flavor of Oban is a match made in heaven. Pairing it with chocolate rich desserts such as tortes and a fresh batch of chocolate chip cookies would make a great deal. You can also snack on some plain dark chocolate along with a sip of scotch. Take a sip and let the vapors spread in your mouth and then take a bite of the chocolate and they will mix to give a fantastic taste.
  1. Roasted or charred vegetable blend with Lagavulin: Like meats, there are roasted vegetables which also make an outstanding pair with whiskey. Crispy, roasted mixed vegetables dressed in a mix of spices would go great with Lagavulin. The charred vegetables will have a stronger taste when doubled with whiskey and make a simple dish taste even better.
  1. Chicken with Peated Kings County bourbon: New York's oldest and finest glass of Peated Kings county bourbon is not the typical peated bourbon you will look for. The caramel flavor in every glass which matches mild saltiness and a light touch of sweetness with grace goes nicely with chicken smeared with pepper, chili, and ginger. Tender cooked chicken with spicy notes like wings pairs well with this bourbon.
  1. Salami and Black Maple Hill bourbon: The brisk flavors of Kentucky's Bourbon such as black maple are a perfect match for deli meats such as salami. The salty meat paired with the woody flavors of the scotch will be a mind-blowing meal to rejoice. The scotch has cinnamon and nutmeg hints, and hence soft spices in the main dish will help enjoy the pairing better.
  1. Cheese with Clynelish: The best way to pair cheese or a cheese dominant dishes is to look for fruity flavored whiskey. A single malt scotch whiskey such as Clynelish has a rich aroma of plums, grapes, barley and a small hint of citrus all over it. The Heavy cheese dishes will swipe new territories of taste palate when paired with a fruity whiskey such Clynelish.

Some general pairing tips with peaty malt scotch

  1. Pair light whiskeys with light food to enjoy the flavors from both without one dominating the other. Similarly, look for strong whiskeys to go with heavy dishes.
  1. Food rich in fat pair better with scotch.
  1. Try to reduce the use of ingredients that dominate the dish such as heavy use of garlic to avoid loss of flavor from the whiskey.
  1. A glass of neat scotch may not always be the right way to pair with food. Splash some water to soften the intensity and then give it a try. 
  1. Do not match smoky whiskeys with smoky meat.
  1. Look for light scotch to pair with seafood.

Various other combinations such as scotch with dried fruits and nuts and a big chunk of apple pie which are also amazing food-scotch pairing are open for you to try. Start with simple pairing ideas and converge to match the nuances of flavor to know your pairings better.  There is no ideal pairing so, experiment to see what matches best for you and enjoy a gorgeous meal.


Read more →

No more Suntory time: Japan’s stock of aged whiskey dries up

Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

The beloved Japanese whiskey popularized by Bill Murray in Lost in Translation will soon be no more, as supply issues have forced Suntory to discontinue two of its prize-winning products. As availability becomes more scarce, do consider picking up a bottle while we have some inventory still available. 
Read more →

Starting / Expanding a Whiskey Collection Guide

Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

So you are keen on starting or expanding your whiskey collection. A worthy goal, but you need to define concrete steps that’ll help you reach it. Making a list of what you want your whiskey collection to look like at the end of the year and breaking it down into achievable tasks is a great way to set up your collection for success. And we’re here to help you.

Here's what you need to think about when obtaining bottles for your collection:

  1. You'd want to get bottles that will age well. If you are saving them for a specific occasion down the road (big purchase, family event, etc) you want your whiskey to taste great when you open the bottle after a number of years of it sitting in your cellar/bunker.
  2. You'd probably want bottles that will appreciate in value.
  3. Settle on your budget for the year. Then ask yourself how many bottles you'd like to get and how much are you willing to spend per bottle?

This also seems a good time to remind you about our concierge program, in case you are after a very specific bottle that can't be gotten elsewhere. Read more about this program.

Without further ado:


  • Elijah Craig Barrel Proof - collectible (as they change every year), and remarkable quality for the price. The only way to find the 12-year version of Elijah Craig these days. Safe bet, and a great (but high octane) bourbon
  • Elmer T Lee Bourbon - excellent, silky smooth, sweet sour mash. Delicious, and will keep going up in value over time. 
  • Booker's Small Batch Bourbon - Since releasing these as limited batches, the collectible aspect of Booker’s is now a thing. And you get a hearty, spicy, uncut barrel-proof product in the way the Beam family wants you to experience it.
    • Stagg Jr - a much more affordable (but way younger) version of Stagg. VERY high proof. Delicious, and will see the collectability of Elijah Craig barrel-proof.
    • BTAC William Larue Weller Bourbon - Barrel-proof and significantly older version of the beautiful wheated Weller mashbill. Same mash bill as Pappy, but distinctly different way to enjoy it. One of the top 3 bourbons to hit the market on a yearly basis. 
    • Old Rip Van Winkle 10 Year 107 Proof - Entry level Van Winkle bourbon, a wonderfully soft and flavorful representation of the Van Winkle’s famous wheated mashbill. Not quite "Pappy" per se (those start at 15 yo and older), but still a worthy investment. Will only go up in value.

    Scotch Single Malts

    • The GlenDronach 25 Year Old 1991 "Kingsman Edition" - Personally selected by director Matthew Vaughn to mark the release of Kingsman: The Golden Circle, this limited edition Speyside single malt from The GlenDronach Distillery was born in the same year as Kingsman agent, Gary "Eggsy" Unwin. Distilled in 1991 and matured in the finest sherry casks for more than 25 years, each one of the 2,000 bottles is hand-numbered and presented in a bespoke green display case and adorned by a gold metal Kingsman charm.

    Japanese Single Malts

    • Suntory Yamazaki 18 Year Old Single Malt Japanese Whisky - Distinguished by the sweetness of dried fruits and aromatic chocolate derived from sherry casks intermingled with a profoundly mature, complex flavor that comes from 18 years. Has already increased in price considerably and will only continue to do so.

    American Single Malts

    • Westland Distillery "Mistress Miasma" Limited Edition American Single Malt Whiskey - This release is composed entirely of Heavily Peated Distiller’s Malt from Bairds. The marrying of five new American oak casks with two ex-Bourbon casks resulted in the perfect balance of heavy smoke lifted by the right amount of sweetness. This special release is cask matured for 36-56 months and bottled at cask strength. There are a total of 1,500 bottles available.
    • Hillrock Estate Distillery Single Malt Whiskey - this release is a reflection of New York's rich history and its unique terroir. Hillrock Estate Single Malt Whiskey is one of the first single malt whiskeys produced in New York since Prohibition. It is made using barley that is grown exclusively on the rolling fields of the Hillrock Estate. Staff favorite and just an awesome dram.
    • Stranahan's Sherry Cask Single Malt Whiskey - The new Stranahan’s Sherry Cask starts as the flagship American single malt whiskey that’s aged for four years in new white American oak barrels after being distilled from 100% malted barley and Rocky Mountain water. From there it is then cask finished in Spanish Oloroso sherry barrels, sourced from the Andalusia region of southern Spain. These barrels are said to have been aging the wine for over 40 years, thus giving the whiskey an extra special flavor. Delicious.
    • Del Bac Distillers Cut Cask Strength Single Malt Whiskey - Distillers Cut is Hamilton Distillers' first permanent cask-strength American single malt release. Produced in batches, the ABV will be around 60% ABV. Availability is limited. Hamilton Distillers is a grain-to-bottle distillery located in Tuscon, Arizona.The Distiller’s Cut includes many of the notes common among single malt whiskeys, such as caramel and stone fruit, but we pick up additional flavors of sassafras and leather when we sip this stronger selection.

    American Whiskies

    High West A Midwinter Nights Dram Blend of Straight Rye Whiskey - one of the tastiest whiskeys you’ll ever drink. And it’s very limited yearly release makes it a sought-after treat.

    Virgil Kaine Electric Owl Bourbon Whiskey - this release represents a collaboration between two Charleston companies: Virgil Kaine Lowcountry Whiskey Company and Revelry Brewing Company. The idea to collaborate first came about when Virgil Kaine owners Ryan Meany and David Szlam wanted to find an alternative to sherry barrels, and also to source barrels from inside the United States. This limited release is 3,000 bottles.

    Irish Whiskeys

    Ransom Spirits The Emerald 1865 Straight American Whiskey - although American, it’s a wonderfully crafted whiskey in the Irish tradition with a 150 year old mashbill. A rare, interesting, and delicious gem.

    Redbreast 21 Years Single Pot Still Irish Whiskey - voted "Best Irish Whiskey Of the Year" as well as "2nd Finest Whiskey In the World" overall by Jim Murray's Whiskey Bible, this whiskey has superior quality for an excellent price and quickly becoming a rarity to the US market.


    All 3 whiskeys below are unbelievable quality. All have exceptionally old rye mashbill with a ridiculously inexpensive price point. A great product to invest in because of the rye revolution that is afoot.

    Questions? Comment below - we'd love to hear from you!

      Read more →

      Empire Rye Whiskey Rises As New Whiskey Style In New York

      Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

      Kentucky is known for bourbon. Tennessee has its "sour mash" whiskey. And Scotland, of course, lays claim to Scotch.

      Can New York state develop its signature distilled spirit?

      A group of New York distilleries thinks they've found it: This month, they're starting to roll out a whiskey called Empire Rye.

      It's not one specific version: Each distillery - including five located in Upstate New York - is producing a limited edition variation of rye whiskey that adheres to a set of standards but allows some creativity.

      "We want a style that is uniquely New York," said Jason Barrett, owner and head distiller at Rochester's Black Button Distilling Co. "We chose rye because it has a historical connection to New York, and it grows well here. And although rye is getting pretty popular overall, we want to put a stamp on it that says, 'This is New York rye whiskey.' "

      At Finger Lakes Distilling Co. in Burdett, just north of Watkins Glen, owner and president Brian McKenzie says this effort, while starting on a small-scale, could lead to something much more significant.

      "It would be great to have this recognized as a style, not only in New York but nationally and even overseas," McKenzie said. "Of course we have a lot of work to do to make that happen. But if we can get even a fraction of the recognition and success of Kentucky bourbon, that would be something."

      The initiative comes as New York's distilling industry is growing and maturing. The state now has more than 100 distilleries (up from 25 in 2011), most of them classified as "farm distilleries." Farm distillers must source at least 75 percent of their ingredients from New York.

      Empire Rye goes even further: The standards set by the group calling itself the Empire Rye Whiskey Association include a minimum 75 percent New York-grown rye.

      The standards also call for a minimum two years aging in new charred American oak barrel and aging at a relatively low alcohol level (115 proof in the barrel.)

      "When you age at a lower proof, you get fewer of the harsh tannins and a more well-balanced product," Barrett said. "It highlights the rye flavor."

      Enhancing the rye flavor is part of the Empire Rye signature.

      To be labeled a rye whiskey in the United States, a whiskey must contain at least 51 percent rye (the rest can be other grains, like corn, wheat or malted barley). Bourbon, by contrast, must be at least 51 percent corn, with different grain making up the difference.

      "So in bigger market brands, you get a lot of 51-49 ryes, and 51-49 bourbons, and there's not a lot of difference," Barrett said. That's one reason the Empire Rye producers set a minimum of 80 percent rye.

      "Rye is bourbon's spicier cousin," Barrett said. "It should be distinctive."

      The standards for Empire Rye, Barrett said, "are narrow enough to ensure consistency but wide enough to allow for the distillers' expression."

      The distilleries involved in the Empire Rye project include Black Button in Rochester; Finger Lakes in Burdett; Coppersea Distilling near New Paltz; Tuthilltown Distilling in Gardiner; Yankee Distillers in Clifton Park; and New York Distilling Co., Kings County Distillery and Van Brunt Stillhouse, all in Brooklyn.

      The initial launch is coming this week for New York Rye Week, featuring events mostly in the New York City area.

      The idea for Empire Rye came in 2015 during a craft-distilled spirits conference in Denver. Representatives from several of the distillers who started the Empire Rye Whiskey Association spent a late night drinking and kicking around ideas to give the New York spirits industry an identity.

      "I can't say I remember much about that night, but that's where the concept was born," McKenzie said.

      It took just a matter of weeks for some of the distillers to start putting rye in new oak barrels and get the process rolling. They kept relatively quiet about the project until now when the whiskey has reached its two-year minimum aging mark.

      Quantities will be limited in this first year, but the participating distillers already have larger future batches in production.

      At Black Button, which had not produced a rye whiskey before, the formula (called the "grain bill" by distillers) is 95 percent New York rye and 5 percent malted barley. That makes it a very rye-forward whiskey.

      Black Button plans to launch its Empire Rye on Black Friday. The distillery produced only about 600 bottles. They will be available at the two Black Button tasting rooms -- at 85 Railroad St. in Rochester and 149 Swan St. in Buffalo -- and at a few select other accounts.

      Finger Lakes Distilling, meanwhile, already has a successful rye, called McKenzie Rye (a sister product to its McKenzie Bourbon). It's 80 percent rye and 20 percent malted barley, all from New York state. Unlike the McKenzie Rye, it is aged in new oak and not finished in sherry casks.

      There are just 200 or so bottles in the initial batch, and they will be available starting next week at the Finger Lakes Distilling tasting room, 4676 State Route 414, overlooking Seneca Lake's southeast shoreline.

      "This program is still a work in progress," McKenzie of Finger Lakes Distilling said. "But it shows what's great about the craft spirits industry in New York. We can work together, and hopefully, build an identity around this product. We want people to say, "Hey that's Empire Rye. That's New York.' "
      Read more →

      Jim Murray’s Whisky Bible 2018 – The Winners

      Posted by Ilya Dorfman on

      It’s that time again: the day when Jim Murray reveals his favorite whiskeys in the world. The results of his Whisky Bible 2018 have just been announced last week, and the winner of the top prize hails from the USA (again):


      Jim’s not a man to mince words, with his press release hailing the whiskey’s ‘sheer undiluted beauty’:

      "Nothing could match the astonishing beauty of its surprisingly delicate weight and complexity combined. It was though time stood still in the tasting room; I just knew…"

      The Colonel EH Taylor Four Grain is the latest in the Buffalo-Trace-made line of small-batch releases, drawing inspiration from Colonel Taylor’s time as a grain trader during the American Civil war. It’s made using a mash bill of corn, rye, wheat and malted barley – the four grains of the name – and has been picking up great reviews since it launched in April 2017.

      Producer’s Tasting Notes:
      "Opens with an inviting aroma, with the first sip bringing a lot of character. Caramel notes are touched by sweet vanilla and caramel corn, then underwritten by slightly smoky flavors and oak tannins. It maintains a smooth evenness between the four grains interacting with the charred oak barrel. Overall, nice balance, and unique."

      Jim’s second and third favorite whiskeys are better known to followers of The Whisky Bible: Redbreast 21 and Glen Grant 18 (we are working on getting it). The Redbreast has been at the top of Jim’s Irish Whiskey awards since it arrived on the scene a few years back, and Glen Grant 18 was Jim’s second place whiskey last year.

      Second Finest Whisky In The World – Redbreast 21 Year Old


      Tasting notes:

      With a minimum of 21-year-old spirit, the real range is up to 27-year-old whiskey, and the effect is staggering. Classic upfront sweetness, typical of an Irish dram, leads into loads of tropical fruits (dried mango), and dusty wood. Very deep, very elegant, and very drinkable, this beauty keeps you hanging on for more.

      Third Finest Whisky In The World – Glen Grant 18-Year-Old

      Producer’s Tasting Notes:

      • Nose: Rich and floral with oaky overtones and hints of baking spices
      • Palate: Malty caramel, delicate, dried raisins and vanilla
      • Finish: Long, sweet with hints of nuts and spice



      • Scotch Whisky of the Year - Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
      • Single Malt of the Year (Multiple Casks) - Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
      • Single Malt of the Year (Single Cask) - Cadenhead’s Glendullan 20 Year Old
      • Scotch Blend of the Year - Compass Box The Double Single
      • Scotch Grain of the Year - Cambus Aged 40 Years
      • Scotch Vatted Malt of the Year - Compass Box 3-Year-Old Deluxe


      • No Age Statement (Multiple Casks) - Ardbeg Corryvreckan
      • 10 Years & Under (Multiple Casks) - Glen Grant Aged 10 Years
      • 10 Years & Under (Single Cask) - Scotch Malt Whisky Society Tomatin Cask 11.32 8-Year-Old
      • 11-15 Years (Multiple Casks) - Gordon & MacPhail Ardmore 2002
      • 11-15 Years (Single Cask) - That Boutique-y Co. Clynelish 15-Year-Old
      • 16-21 Years (Multiple Casks) - Glen Grant Aged 18 Years Rare Edition
      • 16-21 Years (Single Cask) - The First Editions Ardmore Aged 20 Years
      • 22-27 Years (Multiple Casks) - Sansibar Whisky Glen Moray 25 Years Old
      • 22-27 Years (Single Cask) - Hunter Laing’s Old & Rare Auchentoshan 24 Year Old
      • 28-34 Years (Multiple Casks) - Glen Castle Aged 28 Years
      • 28-34 Years (Single Cask) - Old Particular Glenturret 28 Year Old
      • 35-40 Years (Multiple Casks) - Brora Aged 38 Years
      • 35-40 Years (Single Cask) - Xtra Old Particular Caol Ila 36 Year Old
      • 41 Years & Over (Multiple Casks) - Gordon & MacPhail Glen Grant 1957


      • No Age Statement (Standard) - Ballantine’s Finest
      • No Age Statement (Premium) - Compass Box The Double Single
      • 5-12 Years - Grant’s Aged 12 Years
      • 13-18 Years - Ballantine’s Aged 17 Years
      • 19 – 25 Years - Royal Salute 21-Year-Old
      • 26 – 50 Years - The Antiquary Aged 35 Years


      • Irish Whiskey of the Year - Redbreast Aged 21 Years
      • Irish Pot Still Whiskey of the Year - Redbreast Aged 21 Years
      • Irish Single Malt of the Year - Bushmills 16-Year-Old
      • Irish Blend of the Year - Bushmills Black Bush
      • Irish Single Cask of the Year - Dunville’s VR First Edition Aged 15 Years







      • European Whisky of the Year (Multiple) - Penderyn Bryn Terfel (Wales)
      • European Whisky of the Year (Single) - The Norfolk Parched (England)


      • Asian Whisky of the Year - Paul John Kanya (India)
      • Southern Hemisphere Whisky of the Year - Limeburner’s Dark Winter (Australia)
      Read more →